The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has scheduled a Nov. 29 hearing on the federal response to autism, its first in a decade. The committee, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), will hear from panels of government experts, as well as advocates, including Autism Speaks Co-founder Bob Wright.
According to the witness invitation, the committee "will address the federal response to the recent rise in ASD diagnoses, as well as the allocation of government resources for ASD. It will also review research and treatment options for those diagnosed with ASDs.
Since the committee's last hearing in 2002, the prevalence of autism has skyrocketed to 1 in 88, including 1 in 54 boys, according to the most recent estimate issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in March 2012. The lifetime cost of caring for a single individual with autism was recently estimated to be as high as $2.3 million. The annual cost to the nation has been pegged at $137 billion.
Congress has responded by approving the Combating Autism Act (CAA) in 2006 and then reauthorizing it for another three years in 2011. The CAA funds core federal autism research, treatment and service programs.
“Autism Speaks commends the House Oversight Committee for scheduling this much-needed hearing,” said Peter Bell, executive vice president for programs and services. “We look forward to sharing some of the concerns and policy goals of the autism community.”
Autism Speaks has raised increasing concerns over the federal government's commitment to addressing the nation's autism epidemic, such as in an Open Letter to the autism community by Bell.From thAutcast:
This looks very bad and I think it will have very negative consequences and I feel powerless to do anything about it:
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has scheduled a Nov. 29 hearing on the federal response to autism, its first in a decade. The panel, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), will hear from panels of government experts, as well as advocates, including Autism Speaks Co-founder Bob Wright.
Apparently, no autistic people, or at least none from organizations headed by autistic people, will be testifying. I have requested a list of witnesses, but haven not gotten it yet. GRASP was not invited. Neither was ASAN.
ASAN President Ari Ne'eman gave me this statement:At Left Brain/Right Brain, Matt Carey expresses concern that anti-vaccine groups will use the hearing to promote their theories.We're profoundly disappointed that the House Majority has once again decided to convene a hearing without the voices of the community impacted. Less than a year after the famous contraceptive hearing without women, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will be convening a hearing on autism without any Autistic witnesses. ASAN condemns this kind of exclusion and urges the House leadership to include the voices of the organized Autistic self-advocate community.